In the Thick of Things
Zuhtu Ibis was born and raised in a small city in the middle of Turkey. So it is perhaps understandable that when he made his way to the United States, at 18, with his father, he was not overjoyed about working in New Jersey.
"He came so far and he was from such a small place, that he did not want to be in New Jersey," said his wife, Leyla Uyar. "He wanted to be working in New York, in the middle of everything."
But the only way for a brand-new immigrant to get there, he knew, was to work. And so that is what he did -- delivering pizza, pumping gas at his father's station, putting himself through technical school in North Brunswick.
Then, three years ago, he finally made it across the river, working on a temporary computer project at Cantor Fitzgerald. They liked him; they hired him.
Suddenly, he was not only in the middle of everything -- from his window on the 103rd floor, he could see everything, too.
"His window looked out to New Jersey, and he told me he could see our house and he was keeping a watch over me," said Ms. Uyar, tending to their 2-year-old son, Mert, the other day in their house in Clifton, N.J.
Ms. Uyar and Mr. Ibis were high-school sweethearts, married when she was just 18, and he was 20. In a new country, with a new language, it was not always easy for them.
"We have terrible times, you know, but the thing was that we were together," she said.
"I was with him in all the times, good and bad. And we worked so hard."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 5, 2001.